Every week, I receive at least one request to review a set of diets. Sometimes for sows, sometimes for growers, occasionally for both. I usually prepare a detailed response, attach it to an email, and off it goes. Most sets of formulas come from exterior sources, but more and more in-house nutritionists request for a second opinion – something that I consider very progressive!
I just finished one such review and I cannot stop thinking that there is a common denominator in almost every set of formulas I have reviewed in the last three years since I started my own consultancy firm.
Yes, there are the occasional major issues, such as no salt where salt is needed, double the dosage of an additive, an imbalance of protein profile, etc., etc. But, most striking is the fact that almost all formulas are simply over-formulated. Too much of everything or just one thing, it does not matter, it is simply a waste of nutrients, money, and a huge loss of potential profit. So far, I have been able to hack and slash with impunity at nutrients, ingredients, additives, you name it! No bad calls, yet!
But, why are formulas so over-formulated? And, mind that this is a global issue, as I receive diets from most pig producing countries (but none from Japan yet!). My own understanding is that such practice is just fear of under-formulation (for many reasons!). No doubt, some safety margins are needed, but 30% extra lysine is not a safety margin, it’s just money ‘down the pits’!
What do you think?